Supreme Court to Rule on 17 Cases by End of Month

Posted: Jun 16, 2014 12:30 PM
Supreme Court to Rule on 17 Cases by End of Month

With 17 more cases to decide this month, it appears as though the end of June will be a very busy time for the Supreme Court.

It is not uncommon to have a few cases to rule on at the last minute, including some of the more controversial ones: contraceptive coverage, speech rights of abortion protestors, and regulation of greenhouse gas emissions are just a few issues that have yet to be decided.

In all 17 cases, briefs and oral arguments have been presented in front of the nine justices. Now, however, the justices have to vote and issue their written opinions. There is no way to know which way the justices have voted until they announce their opinions.

Based on preliminary votes, the Chief Justice will assign who writes the lead opinion. There may be – and usually are – dissenting opinions.

AP gives a summary of some of the cases that are still unresolved:

— Contraceptive coverage: Corporations are claiming the right to exercise religious objections to covering women's contraceptives under their employee health insurance plans, despite the new health law's requirement that birth control be among a range of no-cost preventive services included in health plans.

— Abortion clinic buffer zones: Abortion opponents are challenging as a violation of their speech rights a Massachusetts law mandating a 35-foot protest-free zone on public sidewalks outside abortion clinics.

— Cellphone searches: Two cases weigh the power of police to search the cellphones of people they place under arrest without first obtaining a warrant from a judge.

— Recess presidential appointments: A federal appeals court said President Barack Obama misused the Constitution's recess power when he temporarily filled positions on the National Labor Relations Board in 2012.

— TV on the Internet: Broadcasters are fighting Internet startup Aereo's practice of taking television their programming for free and providing it to subscribers who can then watch on smartphones and other portable devices.

— Greenhouse gases: Industry groups assert that environmental regulators overstepped their bounds by trying to apply a provision of the Clean Air Act to control emissions of greenhouse gases from power plants and factories. This case is unlikely to affect the recent proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency to slash carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly one-third by 2030; that plan involves a different part of the same law.

— Union fees: Home health care workers in Illinois want the court to rule that public sector unions cannot collect fees from workers who object to being affiliated with a union.

—Securities fraud: Investors could find it harder to bring class-action lawsuits over securities fraud at publicly traded companies in a case involving Halliburton Co., a provider of energy services.

— "False" campaign claims: An anti-abortion group says state laws that try to police false statements during political campaigns runs afoul of the First Amendment.